Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Taylor Swift, Friedrich Nietzsche, and aphorisms

Taylor Swift's "Cruel Summer" (from "Lover", 2019), includes a variation on an aphorism by Friedrich Nietzsche: ""What doesn't kill me makes me want you more." In the "Lover" session of our Taylor Swift seminar today, I asked the students how they use (and have heard others use) the Nietzsche aphorism from "Twilight of the Idols" (1888): "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." While some of their responses make the aphorism a principle of resilience, one student referred to how it can also have an effect of "toxic positivity". The students also pointed out that many Swift lines have also come to be used as aphorisms, and not only by Swifties. (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 17 April 2024)

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